Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ribbons and Bows

Several days ago I came home from work to find Boy with his hand in a paper bag full of grosgrain ribbons.  He bought them at Tinsel Trading Company, a remarkable shop here in New York that specializes in selling nothing but ribbons and related fripperies, such as silk flowers and leaves, felt nuts and berries, cloth butterflies, fruits, and pretty passemanterie of the type once used to decorate ladies' hats back when no self-respecting woman would allow herself to be seen in public without one.  In other words, more than half a century ago.  Tinsel Trading is a type of store that can survive today only in very large cities like New York, where there is a sufficiently large community of fashion, design, and creative types to support such a highly-specialized retail establishment.  Tinsel Trading has been owned by members of the Ceppo family for four generations, and I am happy to report that it's still going strong.

Boy visited Tinsel Trading to find some pretty ribbons to use in a centerpiece on a table that he was decorating for a large benefit being held in New York last week.  While at the store he came across a sale bin of vintage grosgrain ribbons wrapped on spools of white paper, and he bought those that appear in the preceding photograph.  He didn't have any specific purpose in mind for these ribbons when he bought them, other than to add them to the collection that we already have on hand at Darlington for wrapping gifts and other uses. 

Only a week previously I had come across this worn, little plush toy dog when rummaging through a box at Darlington.  When I examined it I noticed that it was missing whatever had once been around its neck, either a collar or a ribbon.  So I asked Boy to tie one of the ribbons he bought around the little fellow's neck, as he is better at such tasks than I. 

I think he looks quite spiffy, don't you?

I encourage you to keep your eyes out for attractive vintage and other ribbons when you are out and about, as they really do come in quite handy.  You would be surprised how inexpensive vintage ribbons like those Boy found can be in group shops or at flea markets, and they can be found at tag sales, too.  Don't settle for the pedestrian ribbons available today in gift stores or big box retailers.

If you find yourself in New York and have a mind for it, I suggest you consider a visit to Tinsel Trading, as it's really quite something to see.

Tinsel Trading Co.
1 West 37th Street
New York, NY 10018
(212) 730-1030

All photos by Boy Fenwick


  1. My mother is THE BEST ribbon finder / buyer, and I think I might follow in her foot steps...
    I am always looking for unusual ribbons, so easy to make a gift look extra special that way. I admit to having a box of ribbons, that I have found it hard to part with, and I use those ribbons around the house, in a similar manner as to what you and Boy have done with the toy puppy....

    A good tip is to look for ribbon when traveling!!

    Northern Light.

  2. ... or tied around my straw hat! Your found ribbons are truly lovely.

  3. Time to start beribboning some pictures à la Nancy Lancaster, I think ...

  4. These are the little extras that make something special. I love the background on the Tinsel Trading Compnay, would love to visit.

    Art by Karena

  5. It is an incredible place, I could get lost there. such a good website too. It is great fun to collect and have them on hand.It is fun to be extravagant with ribbons of packages-those gg in paper-who could resist? pgt

  6. That whole area is chock-a-block full of trimmings stores. Love poking around in there!

  7. I love pretty ribbon, thank you for sharing this resource.
    It's rather sad how little we adorn our clothes and accessories these days with ribbon. When you read 18th and 19th century novels, you find that even a small piece of pretty ribbon was treasured because it could transform a dress or a bonnet. Today it is all $700 Jimmy Choos!
    Ah, the little things in life that bring us joy.

  8. My mother kept a ribbon drawer for us girls. The ribbons were for our hair and mostly different coloured ginghams. I loved being allowed to choose. Do you have branches of V.V.Rouleaux in the U.S?

  9. Hmm...could that be a Steiff doggy now gift wrapped with a wonder ribbon?
    It's all in the details.

  10. Oh, we love Tinsel Trading and always visit when in NYC. We make big rosette brooches with our ribbon finds.

  11. Thank you for sharing this valuable resource!

  12. Grosgrain ribbon! One of life's little joys.

  13. Nice dog!! Thanks for you refreshing wit & appreciation of our establishment.
    Tinsel Trading

  14. Hello Marcia:
    Thanks for your comment, and thank you for running one of New York's retail treasures -- Reggie


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